T.J.’s Notebook: 2019 Christmas Wish List

By T.J. Buffenbarger

In the spirit of the holidays and rare downtime in the racing world I thought I’d share my Christmas Wish List for the sport of midget, sprint car, and silver crown racing. This year for Christmas I want…

• The wheel of doom to be implemented at the Kings Royal to determine the heat race inversion. My first trip to the World 100 two years ago opened my eyes to this amazing twist in the format to the one utilized the Kings Royal. Let the fast qualifier spin the wheel consisting of numbers zero through four, because I’m not evil enough to put a six or eight on there and let the chips fall where they may. At the same time keep the joust to start the night to let the drivers pick the order the heat races are contested in.

The ASCS National Tour, All Star Circuit of Champions, and USAC National Sprint Car Series to visit Michigan in 2020. (NOTE: Already received this for Thanksgiving).

• A millennial sprint car driver starter kit. This includes a Blackbeard wrap for the car, flat
brimmed hat, a pair of VANS, FK Shocks t-shirt, and Arai Helmet. This is contingent on if the kit helps me return to my 20’s with the knowledge I have gained in my 40’s.

• Only one support division at World of Outlaws sprint car program and no more than two for events with the All Stars, ASCS National Tour, and USAC National Sprint Car Series…including other sprint car classes. Having too much of good thing is real.

• More racing t-shirts without large, gaudy prints. Something with a cool logo on the front and nothing on the back.

• Five Esslinger powered older Spike Chassis with a mechanic to farm out as Chili Bowl rental cars.

• Pavement sprint car racing to continue down the path started last year of being less dysfunctional.

• Less humidity at the Kings Royal and Knoxville Nationals for 2020.

• Less rain on Thursday – Saturday for the entire year.

• For a track employee to give an honest assessment of rain falling when you call the office on race day.

• Another great finish to the 2020 season with the World of Outlaws points standings. If it doesn’t happen though I’m okay with someone having the championship locked up before the finale rather than a manufactured point battle going into the final event.

• A NASCAR Pinty’s Series ride at Ohsweken Speedway for Steve Poirier and/or Brewster Baker.

• Sprint car racing engine costs to not increase dramatically due to the entry of Ford and Toyota into the market.

• A Casey’s General Store in the township of Dorr, Michigan.

• Warm, dry weather for the World of Outlaws visit to Kokomo Speedway on October 24th.

• A full season of entertaining, safe racing.


• Safety pioneer Bill Simpson passed away this week at age 79. Simpson was a larger than life figure from my youth with images of him setting himself on fire and legendary stories that went along with his work of keeping racers safe. Simpson was one of those rare people that remained larger than life even through my adulthood. There isn’t really a thank you that is large enough to cover the good he’s done for the sport of auto racing. Our thoughts are with Simpson’s friends and family.

• Earlier this week I was honored to be a guest on Open Red with Ross Wece and Justin Fiedler. While I have regular correspondence with both every week it was nice to hang out for a moment on their podcast. I joked they had must have been scraping the bottom of barrel to book me and I’m not nearly as quote worthy as Karl Kinser, but it was fun to be the guest rather than the moderator on a podcast for a few minutes.

• I apologize for the lack of content the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, my Mother in Law passed away on the Friday after Thanksgiving after going into the hospital two days prior. Obviously that situation has eaten up a lot of my time over the past couple of weeks. This week we’re trying to get back to some normalcy including some new content. Thank you to everyone that sent thoughts, prayers, and kind words over the past couple of weeks.